What if Descartes had been a Woman? An Epistemology of Empathic Partnership


  • Jonathan Lyonhart Lincoln Christian University


theories of knowledge, transferability, empathy, empathic partnership, feminism, epistemology, Partnership Epistemology, Descartes


An underlying assumption of much of public and academic discourse is that logic is a universal language transferable between humans, regardless of gender, race, religion, class, or culture. Conversely, personal experience is seen as simply that: personal. It may be a powerful way to illustrate a point or imbue it with passion, but it is not an argument in and of itself. Personal experience is particular, subjective, non-transferable, and ineffective due to its affective-ness. Yet our definitions of universal rationality have themselves been formed within particular contexts, primarily by Western males. Applying recent studies in the social sciences to a broader theory of knowledge, this paper will ask what androcratic assumptions males have brought into epistemology and what perspectives females have had to leave at the door? Specifically, is there a long-ignored partnership paradigm of female empathy (regardless of whether it is biologically or socially ingrained) that legitimates personal experience by allowing it to be transferable between humans? What might such a gylanic approach to knowledge yield for future ideologies and their corresponding social, political, and academic institutions?




How to Cite

Lyonhart, J. (2022). What if Descartes had been a Woman? An Epistemology of Empathic Partnership. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, 9(2), Article 6. Retrieved from https://pubs.lib.umn.edu/index.php/ijps/article/view/4967